Maintaining your deck
Florida is a tough environment for the outdoor aspects of your home. Our salt air and at times heavy rains and wind can be quite corrosive. Being proactive in maintaining your deck and patio areas can make the difference in the lifetime of your space.
Between people and pets, decks are a high traffic landing spot for all kinds of dirt, grass and grime. There are a multitude of cleaning products on the market. Make sure to match the product you choose to the composition of your deck. A mild detergent followed by a thorough rinse afterwards is recommended.
A garden hose may not be powerful enough to really get the boards good and clean. Renting a power washer is more effective. High volume, low pressure is the best way to wash. Going too hard could actually damage the wood. Using a tip with a wider spray area will reduce surface pressure. If your deck is constructed of composite or vinyl the power washing will not damage it.
The goal of a good cleaner is to loosen the dirt from the surface. This allows for an easy wash and rinse without a lot of elbow grease. Cleaners can be made from a base of chlorine bleach, oxygenated bleach, or acid based.
Chlorine-based bleaches: Great for getting rid of mold and mildew. *Chlorine bleach can be harmful to surrounding vegetation. Make sure to read and follow all directions carefully and dilute as needed.
Oxygen-based bleaches: the environmentally friendly alternative to chlorine bleach. They are effective in removing dirt as well as mildew and mold.
Acid-based cleaners: They neutralize the alkaline effect of a bleach cleaner while balancing the pH of the surface to prepare it for the stain. Some stains and sealers work better when applied to a deck surface that has already been neutralized.
Sealing & Staining
Following steps 1 and 2 allow the deck to dry thoroughly before applying a stain or a sealer.
Stains (a tinted sealer) and sealers work similar to the way that sunglasses function, protecting our eyes…the darker the stain, the better the UV protection.
A clear sealant alone offers no UV protection and without that, the sun will fade the wood, eventually leaving you with a grey deck.
Once your deck has been stained, wait a full 24 hours to make sure that it is fully dry before walking on it. It is recommended to reseal yearly to optimally preserve your investment.
If you are building a new deck, sprucing up an older deck or just considering options we invite you to come in to Shell Lumber & Hardware for a consultation. Let us find you the best products for your project. Shell Lumber & Hardware is located at 2733 S.W. 27th Avenue Miami, Florida 33133. They can be reached by phone locally at: 305-856-6401 or Toll Free: 800-621-6391. You can also visit us online at http://shelllumber.com/ to learn more.